Let’s face it: brick-and-mortar shopping is dead. Before 2020, I would have say dying, but after COVID-19, some of the biggest brick-and-mortar stores closed their doors. We basically heart the heartbeat of brick-and-mortar flat-line.
However, the brick-and-mortar stores that are still standing are focusing on elevating the shopping experience for customers. Cue interactive mirrors, on-brand eateries, curated styling sessions, and on-court testing are all ways that companies are trying to resuscitate their brick-and-mortars and get customers in their doors instead of only online. Just shopping isn’t enough for customers below. Follow below to see retailers who are reinventing their brick-and-mortar experiences.
Opened right across the street from their 47,000 square foot store solely tailored to men’s clothing, Nordstrom unveiled their seven-story women’s store back in October of 2019. Nordstrom’s was thinking ahead in terms of what would bring customers into the doors.
For starters, this Nordstrom combined the digital with the real. The store installed a Lipstick Finder that lets people try on over 400 lipstick colors virtually. This helps customers find their perfect color but in a tech-savvy way. Along with that, they have an interactive mirror called the Beauty Stylist Virtual Mirror that allows customers to virtually try makeup trends. In addition to these tech-savvy features, there are Fragrance Finders that quiz customers and provide the best fragrance for their preferences, digital store maps that create paths to the desired destination, and phone charging stations throughout the store.
In traditional Nordstroms, there are monogramming stations where customers can get anything in the store personalized with messages or names, but this location takes that to the next level. At the Personalization Studio, anything is customizable: shoes, hats, phone cases, you name it! Also on the personalization theme is the Stylist Lounge, where your stylists can compile the perfect look.
Placed in the heart of Florence, Italy, the Gucci Garden has become famous for its Instagrammable backdrops and perfectly pink theme. Conceived by creative director Alessandro Michele, Gucci Garden houses the Gucci Museo, which is the museum part of the building, as well as the Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura, a three-Michelin-star chef restaurant creation.
Here, shopping isn’t just shopping. Much like their pieces housed inside, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience. They are divided into themed rooms, starting with archival gowns and tunics bearing the striking GG logo. As patrons move through the museum, they are taken through Gucci’s creative history from old age to the new era, and foreseeable future. They experience first-hand Michele’s love for flora and fauna, a significant part of the House’s history. People can even experience a red-carpeted velvet cinema that plays a preview of Zues Machine/Phoenix, a short film by the ZAPRUDER Film Makers Group.
After your walk through Gucci history, you end in a boutique-like no other. With carefully crafted chairs, jewelry stands, and dressing rooms, it’s almost impossible not to buy something as a tangible memory for a truly remarkable experience.
What’s more trendy than Fendi? A Fendi Café! Located in Harrods in London, this iconic café opened just over a year ago in July of 2019. Here, you’ll be able to find double Fs as far as the eye can see. Keeping on trend with their monogram and neutral aesthetics, the Fendi Café is fully equipped with the most beautiful Italian foods to pay homage to Fendi’s birthplace.
With artist Joshua Vides’ artwork, the café was transformed into a luxury dining paradise. That is if you see FF-logoed cakes, purse-shaped cookies, and cappuccinos topped with the Fendi brand, as a luxury. And as if eating there wasn’t enough, to celebrate its opening, the café had a Peekaboo bar where customers could have the chance to customize the brand’s notorious bag, but in miniature form.
Nike Store – Soho
The worst part about buying shoes is that you never really know how they’re going to feel after walking around in them all day. Especially when it comes to performance shoes, comfort, durability, and stability are all huge factors. The creators of the Nike store that opened in Soho, New York know this, and that’s why there’s a half-court basketball ring where you can test out your sneakers before you buy.
That’s right; you can shoot some threes and run suicides in your potential new sneakers to ensure they’re the best choice. In this towering 5-story store, there’s the court, a soccer area, a treadmill with screen panels to simulate the great outdoors, and a shoe-personalization area. Along with the treadmills and basketball courts come cameras that record your performance so trained Nike employees can analyze your movements and recommend a different pair. Think you look super cool running and shooting hoops? You can even share this experience on your socials by accessing your Nike account.
If this doesn’t make you want to spend hours in a brick-and-mortar, I don’t know what will. And if there’s one thing companies know about selling to customers, it’s that more time spent in-store means more probability of spending money.
These stores have set the example of how brick-and-mortar retailing should look in 2020—interactive, tech-filled, informational, and consumer-friendly. So, in the dying world of in-store shopping, maybe the answer to its revival is combining what we know and love, with what’s new and technological.
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